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Getting Your Grill Ready for Spring


This is the time of year that many of us out door barbecue lovers anticipate. The snow and ice storms of the winter are becoming less common and the ground is starting to thaw. Yes, many “grill masters” these days grill throughout the winter. This is true especially for those out there using gas grills. For the people that enjoy grilling on their charcoal grills though the winter months can be tough as it becomes harder to keep a strong heat source going in the grill with the ambient temperature outside below freezing. Fear not, March is here and that indicates increases in daily high temperatures and more favorable grilling conditions. It also means it’s time to get your grill ready for the new season.

This article is geared towards members of the grilling community that use charcoal grills, but even those that use gas grills can take advantage of some of these tips. My first suggestion is to take your grates off your grill and give them a good cleaning, even with soap and water. Yes, I know using soap and water is something you really shouldn’t do during the season as most of us purists feel the grates are seasoned by the food that is cooked on them. That is true, but to start the season off with clean grates is not a bad thing. Keep in mind if you have not done this since last spring, it will take some soaking and scrubbing to get them to come close to clean. My best suggestion is to soak them overnight. After soaking and cleaning your grates you need to make sure you realize what type of grate you have. If you have the thin metal ones typical of kettle grills, there is not much else you need to do as far as cleaning the grates goes. Yet, if you have cast iron there is still one more step. You will need to “cure” your grates again. Yes, I know you probably did this when you first used your grill, but doing them once a season helps with eliminating issues with sticking during the season. Coat the grates with vegetable oil and put them in your oven at 450 degrees for about two hours.

Now that your grates are clean and ready, don’t forget the interior of your grill. Yes, you should have done this at the end of last grilling season but if you didn’t you need to make sure all your ashes are
removed, then take a stiff wire brush and rub down the inside of your grill. Keep in mind as you grill some oxidation of the metal can occur resulting in some areas of rust. You want to remove these areas of rust as much as possible before starting the new season. I would also recommend checking around your air vents on your grill to make sure any debris is removed so they work effectively. Finally, I usually do one more step as I sort of do another round of curing the grates, this is for all grates, not just the cast iron metal ones mentioned above. Start your grill as you usually do for five to six hour barbecuing with sufficient charcoal. As the coals get the grey ash color on them, put your grate on the grill and close the top. Just because you aren’t cooking food doesn’t mean you want to ignore your grill during this “curing” process. Check it about once an hour or so (more often just after starting), to make sure any chemicals you used or debris aren’t causing issues. Let the grills continue to “cook” over the coals, this will again help avoid problems with foods sticking during the year, and also burn off any chemical residue on the grates so they don’t affect the flavor of your food when you grill.

While preparing your grill, also make sure your grill area is in good shape. Remove any debris that might have blown into that area during the winter months. Also check for any low hanging branches. Remember when starting your coals you could have flares that could catch a dry overhanging branch on fire. Speaking of starting you fire, check your chimney starter if you use one. If it has too much rust on it, replace it considering they are only about $15. Also check your grilling utensils. This is the time to buy any pieces that you need to replace, or ones that you realized at the end of last season that you need to add to your collections. If your grill brushes are dirty or worn, this is a good time to replace them as well. Remember, if you cure your grates properly; the only cleaning you will need to do on your grill during the season will be with your grill brush.

All this cleaning and preparing will help you get ready for a fun and flavorful grilling season. Remember, grilling season in most areas of the country lasts a good six to nine months, so a well kept grill can give you options for many meals during those months.

Source: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/166672/how_to_get_your_grill_ready_for_spring_pg2.html?cat=6